Saturday, February 18, 2012

Valentine's Day!

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentines's Day!  I know I sure did! 

Food, family, baking, steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, little lemon cakes with cream cheese frosting, chocolate hearts and chocolate covered strawberries with cheesecake filling!  It could NOT get any better:)

Valentine's day was always my great grandma's favorite holiday because it was my great grandpa's birthday.  Every year she would make his favorite ladyfinger cake for him...after he passed away, she continued to make it and remember him. 

So in honor of them both, and as a fun family tradition, every year we have heart shaped little cakes.  We sip tea from special teacups which are molded inside so the liquid is in the shape of a heart.  We really enjoy our annual family tea party.

I would like to share with you the recipe for the super yummy dessert I made so you can make it at your home!

Little Lemon Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Hearts and Strawberries

1/2 - 1 cups Good Quality Chocolate Chips (depending on how many hearts you want to make)
Recipe For Your Favorite Lemon Cake
16 ounces-weight Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 cups Honey
2 teaspoons Good Quality PURE Vanilla Extract
1 quarts Fresh Strawberries

1. Melt chocolate using a double boiler.  Drizzle the chocolate in the shape of a heart onto a piece of parchment paper.  Put in the refrigerator to harden.
2. Make the cake batter according to directions and pour the batter into a cupcake pan lined with paper cups or use your favorite molds.  (I used a pan that made 6 heart-shaped cakes.) After your cakes are baked set them aside to cool completely.
3. To make the cream cheese frosting, cream together cream cheese, honey and vanilla extract. Put in the refrigerator to cool.
4.Wash the strawberries, pat dry and cut them in half the long way - from top to bottom.  Then cut a triangle at the top of each half to form the berry into a heart. 
5. To assemble, frost the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in a thin flat layer. Add a dollop of frosting to the top of each cake.  I did not want them exactly in the center, so I put the dollop a bit to the left and above the center. 
6. Carefully place the bottom tip of the (cold/hardened) chocolate heart into the dollop of frosting so
the heart stands up.  Do this carefully so you do not break the fragile chocolate hearts.
7. Place one of the strawberry halves near the base of the chocolate heart.  If desired, you can add/pipe additional frosting around the perimiter of the cakes.
8. Be sure to serve on a pretty plate!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Cheesecake Stuffing

16 Large Strawberries
1/2 cups Good Quality Chocolate Chips
4 ounces-weight Cream Cheese, Softened
1/8 Cup Honey
1/2 teaspoons Good Quality PURE Vanilla Extract
Sprinkles (optional)

1. Wash the strawberries and carefully core them so that the inside is hollow, reserving the tops.  Turn strawberries upside-down to drain excess juice and save tops off to the side until ready to use.
2. In a mixer or with a hand blender (or fork!) cream together the cream cheese, honey and vanilla extract.  Carefully stuff the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture then put the strawberry tops back on.
3. Melt the chocolate chips on the stove using a double boiler. 
4. Carefully dip the strawberries into the chocolate and swirl until completely covered and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Immediately drizzle your sprinkles onto the still-wet chocolate and put in the refrigerator until chocolate hardens. 
5. Put the strawberries on a pretty plate and serve them to someone special!